Christmas a season of celebrations
For most people Christmas is about family, friends, food and fun, writes
It’s easy to assume that everyone does Christmas the same: decorating trees, filling stockings, putting milk and cookies out for Santa, wrapping and unwrapping presents, moaning about how Snoopy’s Christmas is played too much (or too little), and binging on way too much food. But just as every Kiwi is different, so too is how they celebrate Christmas.
‘‘Since arriving in New Zealand in 1990, our family has adopted some Kiwi Christmas traditions while retaining some of our own Chinese Malaysian traditions,’’ says Stan Low from Auckland. ‘‘Our celebration starts with a Christmas Eve dinner with family members. It’s like our Chinese New Year’s Eve reunion dinner, but with roast turkey, ham and roast potatoes and beetroot.
‘‘We also follow another Malaysian custom of opening our home to friends and relatives on Christmas Day after church. If the Erin Reilly.
weather is good, we fire up the barbecue for chicken wings, steak, lamb chops and sausages for Christmas lunch. By dinner time we are already suffering from food comatose, so we don’t have a formal Christmas Day dinner.’’
In the Tongan culture, family, food and church are essential components of Christmas celebrations.
‘‘At Christmas time there must be more food than is eaten!’’ says Kelvery Longopoa, whose parents are originally from Tonga. ‘‘Usually the men will cook a pig on the spit, or an umu or hangi while the women prepare the food inside. On Christmas Day, Mum enjoys making extra plates of food to give to our neighbours or relatives.
‘‘I remember as a kid attending midnight mass,’’ she continues. ‘‘It would start at 10pm on Christmas Eve and finish at 12am. After church the whole congregation would meet outside and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. These days Mum and Dad attend a 6pm service, and on Christmas Day we always give thanks to the Lord for his blessings.’’
For Lou Vitali and her family, this time of year revolves around Christmas magic.
‘‘I love the magic of Christmas and the focus it has on joy, happiness and doing life together as a family,’’ says the Auckland mum-of-three. ‘‘On December 1st, Snowflake, our ‘Elf on the Shelf’ comes out of hiding and delivers the kids’ Christmas pyjamas. On Christmas Eve we sing carols at church, then we come home and put out beer and chocolate for Santa ... and of course carrots for Rudolph! Once the kids go to bed, we dust off the gumboots, grab some flour and leave some snowy foot prints by the tree.’’
For others, Christmas is simply about spending the day with their favourite people.
‘‘We just have a big barbecue with friends and family, and drink and chat and enjoy each other,’’ says Bailey Palmer from Wellington. ‘‘That’s what Christmas is about for us.’’
Keen to spread some Christmas cheer in your neighbourhood this year? Why not organise a street party or invite your neighbours over for Christmas dinner or Boxing Day lunch? Just ask around on Neighbourly.
Christmas can be about sharing a meal and spending time with your favourite people.